A New Hope For Iraq

The Iraqi Governing Council has signed the interim Iraqi Constitution, an historic first step on the road to Iraqi sovereignty.

“Here we are today standing in a historical moment to lay the strong foundation for rebuilding a new Iraq,” said governing council President Mohammed Bahrululum. “A new, free, democratic Iraq that protects the dignity of the human being and protects human rights.”

The Iraqi Constitution is not a perfect document by an means, but it is an important first step. The US was governed under the Articles of Confederation for years before our Constitution was drafted and approved, and many compromises were necessary before our governing document was ratified. It is quite likely that Iraq will be no different.

Yet what this signifies is more important than ink on a page. For the first time in decades political change in Iraq was achieved not by the gun, but by the pen. This is the first Iraqi government not created through violent revolution in years. The Iraqis are using their new-found liberty to the best of their ability, which is a positive sign for the future.

Of course the media is trying its best to downplay the issue. As David Adesnik notes:

So, did the NYT report today that Friday’s “major embarrassment” didn’t materialize? Or that Paul Bremer has been successful in encouraging Iraqis to work together? And what about the WaPo? Did it report that the Shi’ites’ compromise is an indication of how ethnic and religious divisions may not be as profound as originally though.

Since those were all rhetorical questions, I won’t bother telling you the answers. The fact is that professional journalists have a remarkable habit of overlooking their own short-sightedness. Unsurprisingly, the same correspondents at the Times (Dexter Filkins) and the Post (Rajiv Chandrasekaran) covered both the Shi’ite walkout on Friday and the Shi’ite compromise earlier today. Their coverage demonstrates how committed both men are (subconsciously, I think ) to telling the story of how America is going to fail in Iraq. Of course, it’s hard to tell a consistent story when the facts keep getting in the way.

That has been the story literally since the fall of Baghdad. The motto of the media on Iraq is to spread FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, in service of their political agenda. In the UK the Hutton Inquest led to the fall of those responsible for spreading some of the more egregious lies about the war – one wonders what would happen if a similar inquest were held here?

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